Speaking at the World Pork Conference in Bonn, Dr. Andrea Gavinelli, the head of the Unit of Animal Welfare at the directorate General for Health and Consumers at the European Commission, said that data is being collected to ensure the smoothest possible transition across the EU to sow loose housing in 2013.

"We are not going to wait until December 31 next year," said Gavinelli. "We are looking at the data for each member state and we will have the statistics next year and we should then be able to see the appropriate action to take." 


Gavinelli said that the situation is different in different member states and, where some will achieve the standards and others not, there could be tension. He said that the situation will be similar to the one at present for eggs and this will be a testing ground to see how to approach the problem. Once the data has been collected, the commission will have a better picture and will then decide how to proceed.

Gavinelli also told the conference that the European Commission is working towards an agreement for a voluntary end to surgical castration of piglets by 2018.